Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, a controversial figure in the prison-
abuse probes, vehemently denies that detainees at Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, were tortured under his command and expressed disappointment
that his recommendations for garnering better intelligence in Iraq
were not fully implemented.
General Miller also states he would be "glad" to submit to
questioning from defense lawyers for US soldiers accused of abusing
detainees at Abu Ghraib, after a military judgeordered him and three
other US Army officers - including top Middle East commander Gen.
John Abizaid - to do so last week.
"Anything that can help, I'll do it," says Miller, who oversees
all US military detention operations in Iraq, where some 4,000 to
5,000 people are now in custody at a dozen centers. Defense lawyers
for the seven soldiers charged so far in the case argue that the
chain of command created an environment where soldiers believed
abuse was acceptable.
"I'm a senior leader and I'm glad to help," Miller told the
Monitor before stepping off a Black Hawk helicopter for a weekly
stay at Abu Ghraib.
Miller says he spends the night weekly at Abu Ghraib, sleeping in
an old cell of the prison that was infamous for its torture chambers
under Saddam Hussein and is now at the heart of a scandal that has
tainted the image of US forces in Iraq. "I live out here about one
night a week. It's all about senior leaders being out here with the
soldiers," said the general, who says he sleeps in the cell to avoid
displacing soldiers at the crowded facility.
Miller is regarded as a central figure in the prison case because
of his role in attempting to transfer lessons in intelligence
gathering and interrogation from the detention facility at the US
Naval Base at Guantanamo to Iraq. Miller ran the Guantanamo
operation from November 2002 until he took up his Iraq post in April
The US did not grant the roughly 600 detainees at Guantanamo
formal protection under the Geneva Conventions, as it has for all
detainees in Iraq except alleged terrorists.
Miller said that declassified US government documents would show
the "terrible scrutiny paid" to the legality of interrogation
methods used at Guantanamo, reiterating that he spent a great deal
of time with lawyers on that subject.
"There was no torture at Guantanamo," he said, adding, "I'm proud
of everything done at Guantanamo" and also of the work he has led in
Miller briefed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during his
tenure at Guantanamo on successes, including the "extraordinarily
valuable intelligence" being extracted from detainees there. …